Poem | Lilacs

(Sofia Costa/Unsplash)

This should be tapped in staccato like a telegram,
on an obsolete Underwood condemned to a grated

pawnshop window, for disseminating what was banned,
striking a ribbon spooled from dark nylons thunder wore

when it shocked lilacs into bloom. Afterward, the lawn
was pasted with confetti as if a parade had passed.  

Before a blue Madonna, a baptismal birdbath crested
in a lilac foam. A mourning cloak, free at last from

its cocoon, outfluttered the sheer curtains in a room
where a bed table had arranged fruits, handblown

in Prague, around a stolen hotel Bible. A peeling gate,
swollen as if slammed shut long ago, needed kicking open,

and when they ducked through the overgrown arbor,
wet blossoms showered down a private storm.

Published in the May 2023 issue: 

Stuart Dybek’s most recent book of poems is Streets in Their Own Ink (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). He’s also the author of six books of fiction, including Paper Lantern: Love Stories.

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